Project Summary

Intimate partner violence (IPV), specifically physical and psychological aggression toward an intimate partner, represents a public health crisis that affects millions of Americans each year. IPV contributes to a range of mental and physical health conditions in survivors, and children exposed to IPV are at an increased risk for psychological, social, emotional and behavioral problems and are also more likely to engage in IPV later in life. There currently exists no intervention shown in randomized controlled trials (the gold standard method for determining effectiveness) to prevent and end perpetration of IPV in the general (civilian) population. This lack of demonstrated intervention effectiveness in existing programs is troubling, considering that approximately half a million men and women are court-mandated to these programs each year. 

The Strength at Home (SAH) intervention program has been shown to prevent and end physical and psychological IPV in several studies of military and veteran clients and is perhaps the most promising intervention for use with court-ordered civilians who use IPV, as the study team’s pilot data would suggest. The primary objective of the current study is to conduct a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of SAH with an IPV intervention program that is based on the standard curriculum offered locally and nationally. Specifically, the study will compare the two programs under the expectation that those who are referred to SAH will demonstrate relatively greater reductions in physical and psychological IPV (primary outcomes) and greater reductions in symptoms of PTSD and alcohol use problems along with higher treatment satisfaction (secondary outcomes). These study outcomes will be measured across five time points, three months apart. 

An additional study aim is to assemble and work closely with a Stakeholder Advisory Board consisting of former SAH clients, victim advocates, community IPV intervention experts, implementation experts, a chief judge and a hospital administrator to participate in quarterly meetings with the research team to help identify potential barriers and facilitators for successful implementation of the program. Participants will include 400 men who are court-mandated to participate in IPV intervention in the state of Rhode Island who will be randomly assigned to participate in one of the two programs. Relationship partners will also be contacted as collateral sources for IPV reports. Researchers expect that the study results will place the research team in a strong position to make a powerful data-based case to move the field toward more trauma-informed, patient-centered and evidence-based intervention to prevent and end IPV. 

This rigorous randomized controlled trial could have a far-reaching impact on the field, given the lack of such investigations and a dire need for more data that can shed light on the most effective approaches to end violence.

Project Information

Casey Taft, Ph.D.
Trustees of Boston University, BUMC
$2,803,771

Key Dates

60 months
November 2023
2023

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Award Type
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Last updated: March 15, 2024